IRAN WATCH CANADA

Friday, April 29, 2016

RSF : Iran with 32 journalists in prison Rank 169 out of 180 countries in the world


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Thursday, April 28, 2016


April 26th, 2016
Your Excellency, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rouhani
We the undersigned, a group of university professors in North America, write you concerning the dire circumstances of a number of political prisoners in Iran. It is our hope that you would consider intervening on their behalf and arranging for their immediate hospitalization under the care of competent and expert physicians.
Much distressing news is emerging concerning the battle some of these political prisoners are waging against cancer. It is common knowledge that in such cases the patient must be diagnosed in a timely manner and put under the care of competent physicians.
According to reliable sources, political prisoners are routinely denied access to immediate medical care. Prison authorities seem to habitually delay or limit access of inmates to the prison hospital. Medical care providers who have attended to these seriously ill prisoners have lacked proper medical qualifications. They may even have violated their medical oaths. We call upon you to order an immediate investigation of the medical files of the political prisoners named in this letter to ascertain the veracity of our charges.
Many of these political prisoners who are battling cancer are not allowed to visit outside hospitals specializing in oncology. The conditions of prisons add to the stress that cannot help but worsen their ailments. Prisoners who are serving their sentences often come under pressure to collaborate with the security forces as spies or to appear on national television and confess to crimes they have not committed.
Meanwhile, the entire prison is flooded in harmful and potentially carcinogenic telecommunication waves aimed at jamming mobile phones. Prisoners often complain of headaches that may be related to this reckless policy. Drinking water in Evin prison is not safe for consumption. Prisoners’ daily diet is poor and ill-suited to their conditions.

Prisoners are often subjected to psychological pressures which border on “white torture”. The families of these political prisoners are also under constant pressure. Contrary to the rules and regulations of Iranian prisons, political inmates are denied brief furloughs allowed to non-political prisoners.
The number of political prisoners that during the last few months have protested their conditions by engaging in hunger strike has increased. Some have gone so far as sewing their lips in protest. Unfortunately the judicial authorities in the Islamic Republic have no respect for the rudimentary principles of human rights, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, or even their own rules and regulations governing prisons. The relationship between the totality of these conditions and the epidemic of cancer and other chronic diseases sweeping Iran’s prisons must be carefully studied.
The affliction of the young physicist Omid Kowkabi with cancer of the kidney and the reckless procrastinating policy of prison authorities in failing to provide him with proper care (leading to the removal of his kidney in a recent operation) is a glaring example of the condition we have outlined above.
We also bring to your attention another political prisoner, Hossein Ronaghi, who is suffering from severe kidney failure and who has started a hunger strike to protest his unbearable conditions.
The third example is Isa Saharkhiz who after a prolonged hunger strike is now diagnosed with the cancer of the adrenal glands – a condition that should have been diagnosed and treated much earlier.
The fourth case is Dr. Alireza Raja’i, who after enduring five years of imprisonment is now battling the cancer of the jaw and face. Physicians are dismayed that he was not reported for treatment in a timely fashion.
The fifth case is Dr. Hossein Rafi’i, retired professor of Chemistry at Tehran University, suffering from multiple ailments.
These are just a few, long suffering political prisoners who are still alive. Mohsen Dokmehchi lost his life to cancer while incarcerated. Ahmad Qabel was diagnosed with brain cancer while in prison. He died soon after he was sent to the hospital in the final stages of his affliction.
Contrary to the official promise by the state that old and sick prisoners would be freed to receive treatment, no such accommodations have been made for political prisoners.
Mr. President, although you are not in charge of the Judiciary, you remain the highest ranking elected official in Iran. As such, you are duty-bound to protect the basic rights of Iranian people and those imprisoned on political charges.
We are witness to your admirable work on the global stage for a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issues based on mutual respect. You have done much to achieve a more respectable image for Iran. We are confident that addressing the dire condition of political prisoners in Iran and their urgent medical needs will enhance the humanitarian image of Iran around the globe.
If the urgent release of these political prisoners is not possible, please allow for a group of independent specialist physicians from within Iran or international organizations such as Doctors without Borders, International Red Crescent/Red Cross and the United Nations) to visit these prisoners and those who have been recently released but who suffer from a variety of ailments. The physicians should be allowed to examine their medical files and assist the medical experts engaged in treatment of these individuals.
Respectfully
Ervand Abrahamian (City University of New York–CUNY)
Janet Afary (University of California Santa Barbara)
Hussein A. Amery (Colorado School of Mines)
Ian Angus (Simon Fraser University)
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim (Emory University)
Andrew Arato (New School University)
Talal Asad (CUNY Graduate Center)
Ali Banuazizi (Boston College)
Golbarg Bashi (Pace University)
M. Cherif Bassiouni (De Paul University)
Mehrzad Boroujerdi (Syracuse University)
Laurie A. Brand (University of Southern California)
Allison Busch (Columbia University)
William Carroll (University of Victoria, Canada)
Houchang Esfandiar Chehabi (Boston University)
Noam Chomsky (Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT)
Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)
Fred Dallmayr (University of Notre Dame)
Roxanne L. Euben (Wellesley College)
Samir Gandesha (Simon Fraser University)
Moisés Garduño Garcia (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Emeritus Irene Gendzier (Boston University)
Alan Gilbert (University of Denver)
Jeffrey Goldfarb (New School University)
Warren S. Goldstein (Harvard University)
Victoria de Grazia (Columbia University)
Ahmad Hadavi (Northwestern University)
Elaine C. Hagopian (Simmons College, Boston)
Wael Hallaq (Columbia University)
Nader Hashemi (University of Denver)
Nubar Hovsepian (Chapman University)
Andreas Huyssen (Columbia University)
Peter R. Johnson (University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Mohsen Kadivar (Duke University)
Hossein Kamaly (Barnard College, Colombia University)
Sudipta Kaviraj (Columbia University)
Banafsheh Madaninejad (Southeastern University)
Mojtaba Mahdavi (University of Alberta, Canada)
Ali Akbar Mahdi (California State University, Northridge)
Ali Mirsepassi (New York University)
Brinkley Messick (Columbia University)
Timothy Mitchel (Columbia University)
Ebrahim Moosa (University of Notre Dame)
Arash Naraghi (Moravian College)
Mehdi Noorbaksh (Harrisburg University)
Mehrdad Nourani (University of Texas, Dallas–UTD)
Sheldon Pollock (Columbia University)
Farhang Rajaee (Carleton University, Canada)
Malcolm L. Rigsby (Henderson State University)
Sara Roy (Harvard University)
Mahmoud Sadri (Texas Woman’s University)
Muhammad Sahimi (University of Southern California)
Emile Sahliyeh (University of North Texas)
Stuart Schaar (Brooklyn College, City University of New York)
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia University)
Andrea L. Stanton (University of Denver)
Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi (University of Toronto, Canada)
Mahdi Tourage (King’s University College, Canada)
Peyman Vahabzadeh (University of Victoria, Canada)
Jerry Zaslove (Simon Fraser University)
Copies to:
Minister of Health and Medical Training of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Doctors Without Borders
International Red Crescent/Red Cross
United Nations

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Iran has difficult road to reform never mind democracy …..Second Round of Election For Majles ( Parliament ) in Iran ….Khamenei , Sepah , Basij and their fundamentalists thugs brings tension and clashes during second round of election campaign , This clashes happened in Tabriz University between pro-moderate ( Zahra Saei - a moderate woman candidate ) and fundamentalists forces …….

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Iran: Denial of adequate medical treatment to political prisoners unacceptable – UN rights experts


GENEVA (27 April 2016) – A group of United Nations human rights experts* today warned that over a dozen political prisoners in Iran, including some prominent human rights defenders, lawyers and political activists, are at risk of death in detention due to their worsening health conditions and the continued refusal by the Iranian authorities to provide them with medical treatment. 

“The condition of several prisoners of conscience with serious health problems has been exacerbated by their continued detention and by repeated refusals to allow their access to the medical facilities and treatment they so urgently require,” the experts said. 

“The denial of medical care, physical abuse, either in overcrowded prisons or in solitary confinement and other forms of torture and ill-treatment exposes prisoners to risk of serious injuries and death,” they said noting that “unfortunately, Iranian prisons are no strangers to such tragedies, many of which could have been avoided if authorities exercised proper care.” 

The UN experts highlighted the cases of political prisoners Mohammad Hossein Rafiee Fanood and Kamal Foroughi, human rights defender Nargis Mohammadi, lawyer Abdulfattah Soltani, blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, religious figure Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi and experimental laser physicist Omid Kokabee. 

Mr. Kokabee was arrested in January 2011 upon his return from studies in the United States and is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for his alleged ‘connections with a hostile government’. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer and recently underwent surgery to remove his right kidney, a procedure that could have been avoided, had he been provided with adequate and timely access to proper treatment at an earlier stage. When the care is ultimately provided, as Mr Kokabee’s case, patients are often transferred to and from prisons chained to their beds. 

“The situation of these prisoners and the continued disregard for their health and well-being by the Iranian authorities is completely unacceptable,” the experts stressed. “This is especially the case given that allegedly all of them have been arrested, detained and convicted purely for their peaceful exercise of their fundamental freedoms and rights.” 

“We urge the authorities to consider the release of Mr Kokabee and other political prisoners on medical or humanitarian grounds and to ensure their well-being by facilitating regular access to medical care,” they said. 

The human rights experts reminded the Iranian Government of its obligations under international standards to respect the prisoners’ right to health and to ensure their humane treatment. “Failure to provide adequate medical care to prisoners is in breach of Iran’s international human rights obligations and domestic standards,” they underscored. 

“We have repeatedly drawn the attention of the Iranian authorities to allegations related to the denial of access to medical care and to substandard conditions of detention and urged them to embark on a more comprehensive prison reform. We regret that the Government has so far failed to properly investigate these allegations and take the necessary measures,” the human rights experts concluded. 

(*) The experts: Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; Mr. Dainius Pūras, UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Mr. Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;Mr. Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. 

ENDS 
        
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures ’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx 

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Iran: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/IRIndex.aspx   

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Naveed Ahmed (+41 22 928 9477 / nahmed@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: 
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)   
        
For your news websites and social media: Multimedia content & key messages relating to our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles:
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Monday, April 25, 2016

14 Political And Security Prisoners on Hunger Strike Inside Islamic Regime Prisons…….

Reports from the Organization Defending The Rights Of  The Political And Human Rights Prisoners-

According to news 14 Political prisoners are on hunger strike inside regimes prisons.
And they are :



1- Afshin Sohrabzadeh - He is a Kurdish political prisoner need immediate medical attention - he is diagnosed with intestine cancer - He is sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and is currently in Minab prison. He sewed his lips and is on hunger strike…….


2- Ramezan Ahmad-kamal - He is a Kurdish political prisoner  ..he suffers health condition and needs medical attention. He is in Rejaei Shahr prison …...

3-Saeed Pourheydari-  He was arrested after returning to Iran from abroad . He is currently in Evin prison . He is accused of " online activities and propaganda against the regime " and insulting the leader. He is sentenced to five years imprisonment.

4-Saeed Shirzad - Is a left wing political activist - currently in ward 12 at Rejaei Shahr prison - he is an activist who helped the street kids and working kids .

5-Afshin Bayemani - Is sentenced to death but later the sentencing reduced to life imprisonment . He is in Rejaei Shahr prison . he is accused of helping his brother Mehdi Bayemani to scape prison . he is currently under a ward run by sepah .


6- Iraj Hatami - A security prisoner is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and currently is in Rejaei Shahr prison

7- Farid Azemoudeh - A security prisoner - sentenced to five years imprisonment. he is currently in ward number 12 of the Rejaei Shahr prison .

8- Ali (Amir) Amirgholi - Is a left wing political activist and was arrested several times , in one occasion at Khavaran cemetery on the anniversary of the mass political prisoners killing. He is kept in Evin prison

9- Bahram Tarahomi - is a military officer and a security prisoner - sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and currently in Rejaei Shahr prison

10- Masoud Arab - Coubdar -  Security prisoner at ward 12 in Rejaei Shahr - Karaj prison. He is in prison since three years ago.

11- Sahar Elyasi - She is a women soccer coach . she is arrested together with three other colleagues and she is also a online social activist. She is in prison since Oct. last year.


12- Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi  - He is a teacher and syndicalist . he is arrested last year at his home by security forces.

13- Ebrahim Firouzi -  is a new christian and is in prison since three years ago. He is currently in Rejaei Shahr prison in Karaj

14- Hossein Ronaghi Maleki  - Was on hunger strike before the hospitalization for surgery

Link:
http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/article.jsp?essayId=73330



IRAN WATCH CANADA: There is no end to the cruelty of the Islamic regime in Iran …..

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Free Omid # ……………...

Omid Kokabi was the High IQ student of Atomic Physics at Sharif University in Tehran . He also ranked number one in entrance examination at Sharif University. Omid has received award in Olympiad on Atomic physics . Omid was student at University of Texas for higher education in Phd. Atomic physics when in 2011 decided to go to Iran to visit his family . When at Imam Khomini's airport ,he was arrested by security forces , he was detained and the court headed by judge Salavati sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment . He was accused of collaboration with hostile countries .

Omid Kokabi in Hospital chained with bed 
Omid became ill during last five years imprisonment and he suffered kidney bleeding and diagnosed with kidney cancer . Recently in a surgery his right kidney was removed and the doctors warned that he needs continues treatment .

IRAN WATCH CANADA :
Shame on Despotic Islamic regime in Iran treating its citizen with a high profile like a criminal.
Islamic regime and its Judiciary Power headed by Mohammad Sadegh Amoli Larijani are to be hold accountable for what has gone so far on Omid Kokabi ……...

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Iranian Gay & Lesbians Life in Exile ………….Read From Their Website in Canada















1-
Iranian Queer Organization
http://www.irqo.org/english/



2-
Iranian Railroad For Queer Refugees
http://irqr.ca/2016/


Read from both websites and learn more about the Iranian Trans Genders ……….

News from Iran :
The imprisoned Iranian Trans Gender are kept in phase one of the 4th floor of ward number 240 of the Evin prison in an inhuman condition. They are kept in solitary without using the phone , prison vendor and no fresh air . More or less 10 -12 people are kept in this ward and the prison guards and officials treat the prisoners in degrading and inhuman manner.

Link:
http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/news.jsp?essayId=73295






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Friday, April 22, 2016

Mrs. Shahindokht Molaverdi President's Advisor To Women and Family Issues : A Wave Of Anxiety and Fear for Safety and security Has Occupied The Society And Families' Mind…..


Molaverdi has criticized about the plan to have more than 7000 invisible police in the city …...

On Last Tuesday regime's police chief Commander Hossein Sajedinia has announced that, more than 7000 invisible police will watch Iranian people in the city and report about them or their plate numbers to a central station if they violate the Hijab and have immoral conduct , or are walking with a dogs and even if they do not follow the hijab code of conduct in their cars and this plan also includes men for improper dress code and ….……..


Mrs. Molaverdi said ; This plan has created a wave of panic among families and society to fear about the safety and security of their family members and are worried if their family members are late from coming home.
She said; the Government is going to discuss about this plan in their future session .

Invisible Patrolling Police 

IRAN WATCH CANADA: Islamic regime in Iran is so afraid of its people for surprise uprising and therefore creates so many kinds of police force visible or invisible ……Now …does Islamic regime coming to its end ?……What makes them to be so afraid of its people ?……………..

Animal Farm……..All people are created equal but some are lords ……Napoleon, …….Boxer and clover…..The beasts of England Song…….

Link:
http://www.isna.ir/fa/news/95020401136/



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For Immediate Release

Iran: Imprisoned Physicist’s Cancer Care in Jeopardy
Lack of Adequate Treatment Increases Political Prisoners’ Suffering

(Beirut, April 21, 2016) – Iranian authorities should immediately ensure that Omid Kokabee, an Iranian physicist imprisoned on national security charges, has access to adequate medical care for his life-threatening cancer, Human Rights Watch said today. Kokabee was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012, and the sentence was confirmed even after the Supreme Court ruled that the charges were “mistaken.”

On April 16, 2016, Saeed Khalili, Kokabee’s lawyer, told Ilna news agency that Kokabee’s medical test results indicated that his client suffers from Renal Cell Carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer. On April 20, BBC Persian reported that Kokabee had surgery and that doctors removed his right kidney, which was affected by cancer. While Kokabee is receiving treatment in a hospital, whether he will be able to continue his treatment in hospital is far from certain, based on his and other imprisoned patients’ experience. With his new diagnosis, any delay in receiving medical care could cause “irreparable damage” to Kokabee’s health, Khalili told Ilna.

“Denying a prisoner necessary medical care is both cruel and unlawful,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Iranian authorities should ensure that Kokabee will have access to adequate medical care, which in his case is likely to be outside prison.”

The International Campaign for Human Rights has reported that authorities unduly delayed Kokabee’s access to medical treatment in the past. In 2012, after an initial examination found that he had a tumor, Kokabee experienced a long delay in getting permission to be transferred from a prison health clinic to a hospital for a critical medical examinations. Khalili has asked the authorities to allow him to continue his treatment outside prison, but it is not clear if he has received any response.

Authorities arrested Kokabee on January 30, 2011 at Imam Khomeini International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to the United States after a visit to his family. He was traveling back to the US to continue his post-doctoral studies in physics at the University of Texas at Austin. On May 14, 2012, a revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced him to 10 years in prison on charges of “connection with a hostile government [the United States].” In October 2014, Branch 36 of Iran’s Supreme Court rejected the legal basis for Omid Kokabee’s imprisonment and ordered a review of his case. Despite that ruling, in the re-review of the case, Branch 54 of Tehran’s revolutionary appeals court upheld Kokabee’s sentence on the same grounds. Authorities have not made public any evidence that led to Kokabee’s charges and conviction.

International human rights law and the Iranian legal code require prison authorities to provide detainees with adequate medical care. Iran's State Prison Organization regulations state that, if necessary, detainees must be transferred to a hospital outside the prison facility. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners requires the authorities to transfer prisoners needing specialist treatment to specialized institutions, including hospitals.

Kokabee is one of a number of prisoners charged with national security crimes who have been deprived of adequate medical care. On April 5, Kalemeh website reported that Nazak Afshar, a former employee of the French Embassy in Tehran, who has been detained in Evin prison since March 12, has repeatedly lost consciousness in prison and is believed to be seriously ill but apparently is not getting adequate care.

Authorities in Iran frequently have ordered political prisoners returned from a hospital to prison before their care was completed. On March 26, Hossein Ronaghi, a human rights defender and blogger serving 13 years in prison, went on a hunger strike to protest his lack of access to medical care. Authorities had released Ronaghi – who suffers from serious kidney complications – in June 2015 on a medical furlough but summoned him back to prison on January 20, before his medical treatment was completed.

“Iran has a dismal record of providing prisoners, especially those convicted of politically motivated charges, access to necessary medical treatment,” Whitson said. “Judicial and intelligence authorities should immediately stop mistreating prisoners by denying them adequate access to medical care.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/en/middle-eastn-africa/iran

For more information, please contact:
In Washington, DC, Tara Sepehri Far (English, Farsi): +1-617-893-0375; or sepehrt@hrw.org. Twitter: @sepherifar
In New York, Sarah Leah Whitson (English): +1-718-213-7342 (mobile); or whitsos@hrw.org. Twitter: @sarahleah1

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Free Omid # Tweet ….Was ranked number three or four , just behind Q. E's Birthday and the News about the Death of Supper Star Prince ….


Regime and its judiciary power ( Mohammad Sadegh Larijani) are responsible for anything happens to Omid Kokabi while in prison……  

Omid is a young Scientist …….

Omid Kokabi is an imprisoned Iranian physicist and a phd. degree student in US when six years ago decided to visit his family in Tehran- Iran. While in Iran, after visiting the office of the deputy of Atomic energy organization and saying no to their request for collaboration , he was arrested by regime's security forces when he was returning to US and spent 36 days in solitary confinement and  months in prison without trial until he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for alleged charges of collaboration with enemy governments and earning unlawful incomes .
Omid , his lawyer and family believes the reason he is in jail is because he said NO to collaboration with regime.
While in prison he became sick from kidney and was bleeding from this illness , doctors believed he had kidney stone and prison official wouldn't let him leave the prison for treatment up until recently he was diagnosed with cancerous tumour in his kidney and the surgeon in an operation removed his right  kidney.

Doctors warned that if he is to return to prison his life will be in danger.  

Omid is not a political person and during the 2009 green movement he wasn't in Iran, so, regime can't accuse him with political activities. The only reason he is in prison is because he said no to the collaboration with regime , that's all.

Omid Kokabi believes that the scientists should not join activities that are harmful to human . 

Link:
http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2016/04/211292.php


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Thursday, April 21, 2016

RSF _ 2016 World Press Freedom Index ­– leaders paranoid about journalists

RSF :


Most of the movement in the World Press Freedom Index unveiled today by Reporters Without Borders is indicative of a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests.




The 2016 World Press Freedom Index reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by governments, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year.
Seen as a benchmark throughout the world, the Index ranks 180 countries according to the freedom allowed journalists. It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region. These show that Europe (with 19.8 points) still has the freest media, followed distantly by Africa (36.9), which for the first time overtook the Americas (37.1), a region where violence against journalists is on the rise. Asia (43.8) and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (48.4) follow, while North Africa/Middle East (50.8) is still the region where journalists are most subjected to constraints of every kind.
Three north European countries head the rankings. They are Finland (ranked 1st, the position it has held since 2010), Netherlands (2nd, up 2 places) and Norway (3rd, down 1). The countries that rose most in the Index include Tunisia (96th, up 30), thanks to a decline in violence and legal proceedings, and Ukraine (107th, up 22), where the conflict in the east of the country abated.

The countries that fell farthest include Poland (47th, down 29), where the ultra-conservative government seized control of the public media, and (much farther down) Tajikistan, which plunged 34 places to 150th as a result of the regime’s growing authoritarianism. The Sultanate of Brunei (155th, down 34) suffered a similar fall because gradual introduction of the Sharia and threats of blasphemy charges have fuelled self-censorship. Burundi (156th, down 11) fell because of the violence against journalists resulting from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s contested reelection for a third term. The same “infernal trio” are in the last three positions: Turkmenistan (178th), North Korea (179th) and Eritrea (180th).

Three north European countries head the rankings. They are Finland (ranked 1st, the position it has held since 2010), Netherlands (2nd, up 2 places) and Norway (3rd, down 1). The countries that rose most in the Index include Tunisia (96th, up 30), thanks to a decline in violence and legal proceedings, and Ukraine (107th, up 22), where the conflict in the east of the country abated.

The countries that fell farthest include Poland (47th, down 29), where the ultra-conservative government seized control of the public media, and (much farther down) Tajikistan, which plunged 34 places to 150th as a result of the regime’s growing authoritarianism. The Sultanate of Brunei (155th, down 34) suffered a similar fall because gradual introduction of the Sharia and threats of blasphemy charges have fuelled self-censorship. Burundi (156th, down 11) fell because of the violence against journalists resulting from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s contested reelection for a third term. The same “infernal trio” are in the last three positions: Turkmenistan (178th), North Korea (179th) and Eritrea (180th).
Link:


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The New Yorker : An Iranian Opposition Leader Pushes to Be Put on Trial


In a melancholy yet defiant open letter, from one revolutionary to another, Mehdi Karroubi pleaded over the weekend to be put on trial in Iran. His dissent could no longer be silenced, he wrote in his letter to President Hassan Rouhani, a former colleague, and he declared, “We must stand up against the idea of a regime with one single voice, made so through monopolizing an unaccountable power.”
Karroubi has long been one of the Islamic Republic’s leading politicians. He fits the profile—a cleric who earned his bona fides, in the seventies, in the Shah’s jails. He was arrested nine times. Karroubi’s wife, Fatemeh, has recounted taking their son Taghi to prison when he was six months old so that Karroubi could see him for the first time. After the 1979 revolution, Karroubi served for eight years, in the late eighties and early nineties, as speaker of Iran’s Parliament, and again from 2000 to 2004. He twice ran for President, in 2005 and 2009, passing the rigorous vetting by the twelve-man Guardian Council, which assesses candidates and legislation for compliance with Islam. (By then an adult, Taghi helped manage his father’s campaign.) He lost both times to the hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, amid accusations of fraud. Karroubi is sixty-eight now; his beard is as snow-white as his turban. He is a passionate speaker, and photographers like to capture the way his thick eyebrows arch, for emphasis, above his rimless glasses.
For the past five years, however, Karroubi has been under house arrest. His offense was daring to challenge the validity of the 2009 election. The official results stated that Ahmadinejad had won with more than sixty per cent of the vote in a four-man race. (The tallies of almost forty million handwritten ballots were announced within only a few hours, and there were more than six hundred complaints of irregularities.) According to the official tally, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi came in second, Karroubi third, and a former Revolutionary Guard commander fourth. Millions took to the streets to complain of voter fraud—the largest public protests since the 1979 revolution. The Green Movement raged on sporadically for more than six months; political tensions lingered long afterward. In 2011, Karroubi and Mousavi were put under house arrest and branded “seditionists.” Neither has ever been formally charged.
“I am not asking you to lift my house arrest, nor do I believe that it is in your power to do so,” Karroubi wrote in his letter to President Rouhani, which was smuggled from his home and verified by his family. Instead, he went on, “I want you to ask the despotic regime to grant me a public trial based on Article 168 of the Constitution, even if the court is constructed the way that the potentates want. With the help of God and my lawyer, we will hear the indictment and we will present our evidence to the public about the fraudulent [2005] Presidential election, the rigging of the [2009] Presidential election and what happened to the children of this country in legal and illegal detention centers. The outcome of this trial will show which side in the [2009] election dispute has turned its back on the revolution.”
Karroubi accused Iran’s pernicious deep state—including the Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Basij, and the Intelligence Ministry—of “trampling” on human rights. Government officials had squandered seven hundred billion dollars in revenues, transferred billions to accounts in Dubai and Turkey, and “pushed the country to the edge of a precipice while the people were impoverished and helpless,” he wrote. The Guardian Council had become “a tool” that “defames respectable people and violates people’s rights to ensure that one tendency wins and others are eliminated."
Link:

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